On Wednesday, more than a dozen teen girls held a powerful rally outside of the Texas State Capitol building to protest legislation that punishes sanctuary cities.
SB4 is a measure that allows law enforcement officials to ask people their immigration status if they are arrested for anything, including jaywalking or petty theft. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law back in May, which has since sparked many rallies and demonstrations expressing objection to the decision, according to HuffPost.
Case in point, this week a group of 15 young girls arrived at the state capitol dressed in quinceanera ball gowns, which is formal attire worn for the traditional coming-of-age party for Latina girls on their 15th birthdays.
The rally was appropriately called, “Quinceañera at the Capitol,” and was organized by the Latino advocacy group Jolt.
So proud of these girls! #15ContraSB4 because there are so many reasons to stand up against a law that separates families, promotes hate & racial profiling. So proud of Daniela! I was invited to talk to her high school when she was a senior about undocumented students going to college. she talked to me after & now she is at UT, we are in the same organization & was one of the quinceañeras! . . . #SB4 #SB4isHate
The group chose to use a quinceañera theme for the demonstration because these parties highlight “the bonds of family, community, culture, and bring people together through celebration,” according to the event’s Facebook page.
The rally included remarks from girls and a dance performance choreographed to Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” from the "Hamilton" Mixtape.
According to Fusion, Jolt founder Cristina Tzintzun said that approximately 250 people came out to support the event.
Following the rally, the girls had a chance to actually meet with Texas lawmakers to discuss the negative impacts of SB4 on immigrant communities.
“For us, it’s not just this one day of action to celebrate our culture and community, to answer hate with love and pride,” Tzintzún reportedly told Fusion. She continued: “It’s also really the launching of a long-term movement to build power for the Latino community, to win our community the respect and dignity that we deserve, because we make up 40 percent of the state’s population. Legislators think that they can pass a far-reaching anti-immigrant, anti-Latino bill without consequence. And we want to show that the exact opposite is true.”
This beautiful display of resistance is powerful for many reasons as it combines art, culture, and community for an important cause. But beyond that, the fact that this demonstration involved youth shows young people that it's never too early to have a hand in civic engagement.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Eneas De Troya